Research Synthesis on Assistive Technology use by People with Learning Disabilities and Difficulties

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Kelly Drew Roberts
Robert A. Stodden


assistive technology, learning disabilities or difficulties, voice recognition software


In this article, we provide a synthesis of the literature available on the use of assistive technology (AT) by elementary through postsecondary education students with learning disabilities and/or difficulties.  The synthesis addresses the following questions: 1. What types of AT are being used in educational and workplace settings?  2. What are the outcomes for students with learning disabilities and difficulties who use AT?  3. What types of AT, as used by students with learning disabilities and difficulties, necessitate additional research, and 4. Does the use of AT improve performance and retention rates? Answers to these questions are based upon analysis of seven articles found through an extensive literature search based upon the following criteria: (a) Empirical studies on AT; (b) Studies published in refereed journals; (c) Study participants attending elementary through postsecondary educational institutions; (d) Non-mainstreamed technologies (i.e. technology not used regularly by people without disabilities such as spell checkers, grammar checkers, word processing software, educational software); (e) Technology that is used to compensate for learning difficulties and not used to remediate, and (f) Study participants identified as having a learning disability or learning difficulty.  Overall, the use of AT as a compensatory strategy by students with learning disabilities and/or difficulties was shown to be effective.

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